Re:tank tests

Pete Giwojna

Dear arcprolife:

Yes, sir, it’s possible that the copepods won’t appreciate the ammonia spike and may suffer a setback while you are cycling the aquarium (most invertebrates are highly sensitive to ammonia and nitrite). But, as we have been discussing, it’s important to get a nice high ammonia spike when you are cycling a new aquarium in order to build up a large population of the Nitrosomonas bacteria that feeds on the ammonia. If there is no ammonia in a new aquarium that’s devoid of fish and invertebrates, the beneficial nitrifying bacteria in the live rock or the biofilter that feed on the ammonia will begin to starve and die off and their population will be reduced to very low levels. This in turn will greatly reduce the bioload that the aquarium can support when it is stocked. So we need to build up a large, thriving population of Nitrosomonas bacteria by providing them with plenty of ammonia during the cycling process. It’s not a big deal if many of the copepods die off while the tank is cycling — the decomposition of any copepods that don’t survive will provide additional ammonia and thereby help to further the cycling process. And once your tank has finished cycling and the biological filtration is fully established, the pod population should quickly rebound.

I’m not familiar with the red copepods you mentioned, so I can’t say how long they may survive if you add them to your tank as a treat for the seahorses. If they are cold water copepods, I don’t know how well they would survive the thermal shock of being transferred from the cooler temperatures they prefer into a tropical aquarium. But as long as they are still alive and kicking for a couple of minutes, that should be long enough to attract the attention of a hungry seahorse. Just don’t add too many of them at once. You’ll want to keep a close eye on them and promptly remove any of the cold water copepods that expire before they get eaten, so that they don’t begin to degrade your water quality.

Best of luck cycling your new tank, arcprolife!

Pete Giwojna

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